In high school I hated music class. My teacher left me so uninspired I had no interest and resented even having to be there. I hated my teacher, but the feeling was mutual. We had an unspoken agreement to hate each other. Inevitably, by the time the mid-term exam came around I was not prepared. As I didn’t care in the least for this class I hadn’t studied but I did need to pass. So I sat in the exam wondering what to do when suddenly I was given a golden opportunity – my teacher left the room. However, unbeknownst to me he left the room to see what I would do. I took the bait. I looked over my shoulder to take a peek at someone else’s paper. After the exam he confronted me about cheating. This was a very serious offense in my school. I could have been brought before a disciplinary committee and kicked out. With an unsafe home life, this school was my only safe place in the world. I was not willing to lose that. Of course I lied that I hadn’t tried to cheat, but I wasn’t going to get away with it that easily. He was out to get me. This went on for a week, and everyday I told myself over and over again that I had not cheated. At the end of the week we spoke about it again. When I told him again that I hadn’t cheated I noticed that I was beginning to believe the lie myself. At that moment I heard a wiser voice in my head telling me “If you say it one more time you will believe it.” That scared the bejesus out of me! In that very moment I could completely understand the mindset of people who do horrible things and then twist it around as if nothing ever happened. It was an incredible moment of understanding and insight that I have never forgotten. It was also the moment that my teacher backed down. I had finally convinced him, and he would not bring it to the disciplinary committee.
Over the course of this 40 day commitment to the awareness of loving myself I am discovering how easy it is to uncover feelings I had suppressed for years, and instead of punishing myself for them I have greeted them with love. What has happened is extraordinary. I find I am able to forgive myself for things I have done or said in the past, because I can see the emotions which lay beneath them. These hidden emotions are finally receiving the love and attention they needed to heal, and I can feel this healing everywhere. Last night I went to a potluck, and because of one thing or another the dish I had decided to bring wasn’t ready on time. We were already late so there was no time to stop and grab something else. Normally I would blame myself and say how stupid I was and make this the focal point of the evening and find a way to bring it up in the course of every conversation, but last night I just recognised and accepted the part of me that was nervous and afraid to be with this group of people. I recognised my underlying fear that I have nothing to ‘bring to the table’ and then by allowing love to be present I was able to recognize that this was just a feeling, not a truth. This time I would allow myself to see (clearly) that the group were happy I was there, even without bringing a dish, and that ‘I’ was enough. I am also finding the most remarkable things happening in my work. My clients are suddenly acknowledging traumas from past events that they had forgotten were there, and allowing themselves to let go and to be healed.
Our survival mechanism is so powerful that it can suppress any trauma or unpleasant experience in order to help us survive. I see stories about this all the time, like the woman who had been sexual abused by her father from age 8 into her 30’s, and didn’t remember anything until one day when her husband was washing their baby girl, suddenly all the memories came flooding back. Or the story of a man who had been married for several years, with children, who one day woke up and realized he was gay. We ask the question how could this really be true? How could someone just not remember? But we are all suppressing one thing or another. It is our fear of not being loved that causes up to suppress things, and it is only love that can lift us out of the fear and into the light. Even me, who thought I was so in touch with my feelings, am finding through this process of writing and releasing that there is so much I have been suppressing. So much trauma and pain I had to lock away in order to try and just survive another day.
When I was 12 years old I came home from a birthday party to find my mother in a rage. She came at me and went to hit me. I covered my head and but she broke my thumb. We went to the emergency room and she told me not to tell the doctor what had happened or they would take me away from her. Later, in my 20’s and feeling my deepest anger towards my mother I confronted her about that night. She denied it. I was enraged, ‘How could she look at me and deny something so huge?’ but she had to. Maybe there was a part of me that needed to deny it as well. Maybe at that moment it was the only way that we could go on without losing each other. Now I don’t need her acknowledgment anymore. I understand why it happened and that it never was about me. I could forgive myself for ‘being there’ and not getting out of her way and I can understand and forgive her for doing such a thing. Because in truth it wasn’t her, it was her fear, and now my love for myself is greater than my fear of her.
So is there anything that you have done that you are ashamed of? Raise it up in the light of love, and let it go. Sit with it, let it tell you what you were really feeling at the time, rather then just looking at your actions and judging them. See what you might find. I think it will change your life.